Background: Surgeons who have demonstrated excellence through extensive publication in the medical education literature can provide valuable guidance for new surgeons interested in educational research. Methods: National databases identified members of the Association for Surgical Education (ASE) who have accumulated the greatest number of peer-reviewed, original educational research publications. The top 15 surgeons completed an open-ended survey exploring surgical education research issues. Results: The top three factors contributing to success in this field were (1) chair support, (2) collaboration with peers and mentors, and (3) participation in the ASE. The top three barriers were (1) perception at their institution of educational research as lacking credibility, (2) lack of adequate funding, and (3) lack of time. Eighty-five percent (11 of 13) reported having tenure or equivalent, of which 45% reported educational research as playing a significant role. All respondents advised formal training in education. Conclusions: Credibility of educational research is bolstered by quality research and a supportive chair. Scholarly work in this field can form the basis for an academic career. (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.
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